Symptoms of intestinal flu, or viral gastroenteritis, include vomiting, muscle aches, fever, watery stools, abdominal cramps and a loss of appetite, according to Healthline. These symptoms often begin a day or two after contracting the condition. Other common symptoms include weight loss, sweating, nausea and joint aches. These conditions can last for at least a day and can linger for around 10 days.
While the condition is commonly called intestinal flu or stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis is not the same as influenza, reports Mayo Clinic. The flu affects a patient's respiratory system, while gastroenteritis only attacks the intestines. Adults suffering from viral gastroenteritis need to contact their health care provider if they vomit blood, have been vomiting for several days, are dehydrated, spot blood in their stool or are unable to keep food or liquid down for at least a day. Children need immediate medical attention if they have high fevers, experience intense pain or discomfort, become irritable or lethargic, show signs of dehydration, or have bloody stools.
Gastroenteritis is an irritation of the body's stomach lining and can be a result of several pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites, according to Healthline. Children with untreated gastroenteritis are at higher risk of experiencing complications, such as extreme dehydration and death.